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  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) may reduce body fat mass and increase lean body mass

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Tuesday, October 12, 2004 6:13 am Email this article
    Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid found in beef and dairy being sold as a nutritional supplement in health food stores, may cause weight loss, reduce bodyfat and increase lean body mass according to large, one-year study from Norway. CLA Group #1 lost 2.4 lbs

    One group of subjects given 4.5 grams of CLA per day lost 2.4 pounds in a year compared to a weight gain of 0.7 pounds for the placebo group who were given 4.5 gram of olive oil per day.

    CLA Group #2 lost 4 lbs

    A second group of subjects also given 4.5 grams of CLA per day, but which had a slightly different fatty acid profile lost 4 pounds in a year.

    CLA Group #1 lost 3.7 lbs of bodyfat

    The first group given CLA lost 3.7 pounds of bodyfat and gained 1.5 pounds of lean body mass (muscle) compared to an increase in bodyfat of 0.4 pounds in the placebo group and no change in lean body mass.

    CLA Group #2 lost 5.3 lbs of bodyfat

    The second group given CLA lost 5.3 pounds of bodyfat and gained 1.3 pounds of lean body mass (muscle).

    No Difference in Calorie Intake Between the Groups

    All three groups decreased their calorie intake from the beginning of the study, but there was no difference in calorie intake between the groups at either the start of the end of the study.

    Women and Those with Highest BMI Respond Best

    CLA seems to be most effective in people with the highest body mass index (BMI) and in women, who tend to have a higher percent bodyfat than men, according to the authors of the study. (p. 1121, col. 2)

    Unfortunately, they do not give any specific data about this such as men versus women.

    11% Experienced Gastrointestinal Side Effects

    Of the side effects reported, 11.4 percent were gastrointestinal side effects related to CLA, however, the researchers concluded that they were no more common than in the placebo group, and that CLA was as well tolerated as olive oil.

    HDL Levels Decreased in CLA Group #2: Increased Cardiovascular Risk

    Levels of HDL cholesterol decreased from approximatly 59 to 55 mg/dL in the second CLA group which suggest the possibility of an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, however, the authors of the study said there was no increase in risk.

    Lipoprotein(a) Levels Increased in both CLA Groups: Increased Cardiovascular Risk

    Levels of lipoprotein(a) increased 8 percent in the first CLA group, from 321 mg/L to 347 mg/L, and 16 percent in the second CLA group, from 244 mg/L to 284 mg/L, compared to a 5 percent decrease in the placebo group, from 276 mg/L to 261 mg/L.

    Higher levels of lipoprotein(a) are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, however, the authors of the study point to research questioning whether or not lipoprotein(a) increases risk.


    The study started with 180 overweight men and women, 18- to 65-years-old, with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30.


    Gaullier J, Halse J, Hoye K, Kristiansen K, Fagertun H, Vik H, Gudmundsen O. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for 1 y reduces body fat mass in healthy overweight humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun, 79(6):1118-25.


    J. Gaullier
    Scandinavian Clinical Research AS
    Kjeller, Norway
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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